This year I have already attended so many concerts as I never attended before when I was living in Tampere or on Long Island in the US. One reason is that the music played here is indeed world-class, for example Anne Kauppi is one of the best Finnish pianists and is possible one of the best in the world. Most concerts are priced very cheaply at 10 Euros, there are free concerts as well.is a famous French conductor,
I have noticed that French composers are very popular these days. It is a new trend I guess. While I was educated in music school in Russia we have been listening to Bach and Mozart, that is mostly German composers as well as of course lots of Russian music of Tchaikovsky, etc. but I don’t remember any French composers. Therefore, this year I have discovered, , and we can think of as a composer of French ancestry. Their music is not inferior to that of major classical composers, but it is very different. We definitely need to take a closer look at the French composers.
Marc Minkowski was a guest conductor at a YLE Radio Symphony Orchestra. The venue was the Stone Church. Quite traditionally, the churches are used as concert halls in Finland. It is interesting that this concert was sold out! Fortunately, I got my ticket one week in advance. Apparently, concerts on Friday nights are very popular. The concert included three parts. First, Symphoni #3 of Schubert was performed. Then after a short break Requiem of Gabriel Faure followed. It is an amazing piece of music. Traditionally, a requiem is performed when someone dies. Therefore, it should convey sadness. But this requiem is very different. It has quite optimistic tunes which are attributed to human’s acceptance into the Paradise. In the final part of the concert a trio of Mendelssohn was performed. A trio for piano, violin, and cello is a type of composition that keeps me thinking for a long time. Earlier I listened to a piano trio of Tchaikovsky thus now I think that trio is a major composition form on par with symphony or concert. But it is neither one of them. A concert is a competition between a solo instrument and the orchestra. A symphony involves too many parties. In terms of the meaning that a symphony conveys it is often related to a large-scale event or the destiny of the whole nation, something global. It might seem surprising that I attribute verbal description to any piece of music but as Picasso once said there is no abstract art. A painter has always an idea in mind and his/her abstract painting is the result of expressing the idea in this particular way. Therefore, a musical trio also conveys an idea and we can compare it to a certain type of painting. To me a trio is a conversation happening within a close group of friends who know each other very well. They might discuss various happenings in their life, the present and past. The only question is why is this worth depicting? I don’t remember who was saying that but the idea is that only great events constitute the true art, they convey a message to the next generations. What is that message in a afternoon-tea conversation of three people? Answering to that question would reveal the meaning behind a musical trio, it will make its art value measurable. But I still don’t understand what is the position of a trio among various composition forms such as symphonies, concerts, etc. This question is intriguing me a lot.
Another interesting event was Kirkko soikoon, a festival of church music which included classical music as well. It continued the whole week and included tens of concerts. During this festival I have bought a few CDs displayed above. Here is a brief description of the concerts that I have attended:
- Jan Lehtola performed Marcel Dupre in Kallio Church. There were two parts in his concert. Le chemin de la croix op. 29 was performed in the first one, Symphony for organ #1 “Passion” was performed after that.
- The next concert was in Helsinki Cathedral Crypt – a small hall that did not have even a stage. The grand piano was located very near the audience. It was very interesting to watch Anne Kauppi playing as I was sitting in one of the first rows very closely. This year people mark the 200-year anniversary of Frederick Chopin. A number of his etudes and ballades were performed. Gorgeous concert!
- On Friday there was another amazing concert – a 4-hour vocal marathon in the Old Church! The singers were signing along with organ or piano. Helsinki has lots of very nice voices!
- During weekend I went to Church located near my house. An youth ensemble called Higher Ground Band was performing there. I was surprised to see lots of families with children attending this concert. Typically, the audience of church concerts includes very few youth which I think marks the generation gap in the society. These energetic young people bridge the gap between younger and older, as well as between different religions. Traditionally, singing modernized songs is attributed to Baptist church. Finnish people belong mostly to the Lutheran church but they still attend Baptist concerts and sing along with them. The audience was raving, it was such a great concert! Below is a video, it is quite long. Watch it till the end to see how exciting the concert was!